Monday, January 31, 2011

Change is in the air...

Well, apparently it's that time again. The time when our ward needed to make some changes in regards to callings in the Young Women program. That's right, there were releases and extensions this Sunday.

Our fearless and super cool President, Shantai Kartchner was released. (The Lady in Red) She's been in Young Women's for 3 years. We are sure going to miss her and all the fun and hard work she put into everything. She had such love for the girls and you could feel her genuine spirit each time she bore her testimony to them.

Also, Abbey Tooley, our 2nd counselor was released. We LOVE her and will surely miss her silliness and her baby Sam, who pretty much became our mascot. So many laughs that I can't even describe!

Sofia La'ulu, our Secretary was also released. Her daughter Vicky is a Beehive and we were so grateful to have mom and daughter together each activity. Sofia has such a sweet spirit and her tender heart just almost burst with love every day you saw her. She is a wonderful mother and I want to be like her someday.

So those were the ladies going out, now I'll share the NEW news.

Aly Freeman, who was the 1st counselor, became the new President! She may only be 21, but she is incredibly mature and just a beautiful person. I have grown to love and respect her so much over this past year we have served together. Although she may be "terrified" as she told me yesterday, I know she will do a wonderful job. The Lord called her for a reason and she will magnify her calling to the fullest because I have seen nothing less from her.

Now that we have a President, we need a 1st counselor. And guess who was called to that position?

Sister Rebecca Black! Wow, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, excited, scared, enthusiastic, and all sorts of other emotions. I was Personal Progress Advisor, Beehive Advisor, and now the Lord sees fit to give me more responsibility. (And blessings, I figure!) There is a lot of work and reorganization to do, but I know we will get through it. I'm just grateful that the Lord trusts me to be a part of these girls' lives. Our young women are beautiful and amazing. During our New Beginnings program last night, Aly asked the new counselors to share their feelings and testimony. The first thing I said was that I was grateful to not have been released! I wasn't ready to leave the Young Women program in our ward just yet! And apparently the Lord felt the same way :)

Now, some of you might not want or care to know who the other NEW people are, but I'll share it for posterity's sake. I'll admit, I don't know or have pictures of everyone, but that's all part of the process right? Getting to know the new leaders and learning about and from each other. It's going to be a great new year and journey for all of us, I'm sure.

Ashley Wood, 2nd counselor. Beautiful, sweet, and has the cutest little boy named Drake.

Stephanie Larsen, Secretary. Love love LOVE her.

Christine Hayward, Laurel Advisor. Her two daughters, Leilani and Kellie are both Laurels. Kristine is an AMAZING woman. And when I say that, I mean it. She is a ROCK. And a great mom. (Just look at that birthday cake she made!)

Katie Wallentine, Mia Maid Advisor. Don't know her very well yet, but I will! Together, we'll be over the Mia Maids. Yay!

And lastly, I'm embarrassed to say that I've already forgotten our Beehive Advisor's name. It's Jessica, I know that much. I'm sure I'll become very well acquainted with her soon as we'll all be spending lots of time together.

Well friends, there you have it. A long and "fresh" post all about a new beginning for Young Women in the BP3 ward this year. Wish me luck and please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, we gratefully need and accept them!

Friday, January 28, 2011


While I was in line at Smith's Marketplace today, I couldn't help but watch the lady in front of me hand the cashier a HUGE stack of coupons. Originally her total was $37.50, not that bad, but after all the coupons went through it came out to $6.27!


That's a savings of $31.23!!!

I really need to start getting into this coupon thing. Although, I'm kinda nervous. Anybody have any good suggestions for websites or ways to keep it all organized?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Think...What Would the French Do?

Love love LOVE this video. Such an epic way to present the ways of cooking and food in general. I feel like I'm watching Lord of the Rings, but for food!

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did. Course, I don't know who else is quite the food nerd I am, but let's all use our imaginations shall we?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last Practicum

My very last music therapy practicum will be at Avalon Hills, working with adolescents with eating disorders. Can't believe this is it before my graduation and internship (which I still have to locate).

As usual, I'm nervous about this practicum, mostly because it's with adolescents and I'm not sure what to expect in that area. What am I saying, I'm never sure what to expect for each and every practicum I fulfill, but I usually end up enjoying myself nonetheless. And I always learn A LOT.

I think I'm a little jaded from the last practicum I had because it was a difficult experience. I was working in a psych setting with adults with mental illnesses and it was intense. I learned so much but I didn't get that fulfillment after each practicum like I'm used to. I think I'm much more behavioral in my focus, not so much psychodynamic. I like seeing the results on paper as well as in person. I like being able to calculate, in numbers, charts, and graphs, the progress of clients. And I like to leave feeling like I've helped someone. It's hard to see that with mental illness because there is no "cure".

Also, from my last practicum I was with a partner that stretched me to my limits and not really in a good way. She struggled with many things, such as the English language which I think inhibited her in all other aspects of therapy. I didn't feel like we were a team, so much as she was relying on me to do everything for her. Now I'm fine with teaching and sharing my expertise with someone who has less clinical experience than I do, but we were the exact same in our practicum levels (both level 4, completing 3 practica prior). I felt alone almost every session even though she was there. And instead of us relying on each other to facilitate, I ended up turning to our supervisor each time I was unsure. It was not the best learning experience.

Now I feel like I'm just a baby, incapable of facilitating a proper session, I've become less assured of my musical and therapeutic abilities. I know I'm a bit out of practice because it's been over a year since my last truly FULFILLING practicum. I know that I just need to get back in the swing of things and I will be fine, but after last semester's craziness with my back problems, father's sickness then passing, I've been out of commission in many ways. I haven't been practicing like I should or studying like I should. I know that people will excuse that based upon the circumstances but I can't stand my procrastination any longer. This is my graduating semester! I have to get it together!

So, I'm resigned to make a change. And I'm excited for my practicum partner. Shaundra is amazing. Like, seriously. This girl is a guitar genius and songwriter, and even though I've never seen her clinical skills, I'm sure she's amazing. She just exudes calm and cool. I, on the other hand, get nervous before each session and try not to show it. And I OVERPLAN for everything, which I guess is not that bad, because you never know what may happen and you may have to pull a bunny out of a black hat (or something like that ) ;)

This will be Shaundra's 3rd practicum and she tells me that she has SO much to learn from me, but believe me, it is the other way around. I made sure to tell her that. I do feel like I have good skills to offer in the way of documentation, report-writing, and vocals. But she is going to teach me some awesome musical skills I know it. I'm loving this opportunity to work side-by-side with a guitar genie. Plus, I just love her. She rocks. We've known each other for a long time, before she went on her mission, and she's been back for about a year and is getting married soon. Lots of good and happy things happening here.

Anyway, just trying to keep it together and remember all sorts of protocols for working at this particular facility. There is a lot that you can't say or even refer to, but that's where the music will have to take over, I guess! Should be an adventure. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

S'Mores Bars

I've been planning to make this recipe for a long time, but haven't had any excuse to make them other than just cravings. Until last night. We were having a huge planning activity for our Young Women and needed some treats to fuel their creative juices. So, I pulled this recipe out and was so glad that I did!

The girls loved them, as well as the leaders. In fact, these have been demanded to be made for our Young Women retreat up to Bear Lake at the end of the month. I'll happily oblige because they are incredibly easy and just plain yummy. Who doesn't love a good excuse to make s'mores? These are perfect because they don't require a campfire. You can make them super quickly for any occasion and they, I assure you, will not disappoint!

S'Mores Bars

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened

4 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup hot fudge topping, heated

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13X9 inch pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat crust ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until coarse crumbs form, scraping bowl occasionally. Press mixture evenly in bottom of pan.
  2. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over crust; bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until marshmallows begin to puff.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate pieces evenly over marshmallows; drizzle warm topping over top. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 8 rows by 4 rows.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year, New Goals

Well, I may be a little late in the posting of our New Year's resolutions. Things have just been crazy around here, with Michael and I being sick for over a week and the preparations for our last semester of school. Seriously though, being sick during the last week of Christmas break was a serious bummer. All we did when we were not working or at church was lie in bed, watch movies, and blow our noses while being drugged up on cold medicine. We went through an entire box of tissues!!!

But, we did get to spend some quality time with each other, which was wonderful. Snuggling is pretty much one of our favorite activities ;)

During the break, we've been thinking about goals for the year of 2011, planning and hoping for the wonderful things to come in the new year! We have lots of ideas and, in an attempt to be more responsible in regards to them, I will be sharing them here on the blog. They always say that you NEED to write your goals down, or else they're not likely to be accomplished. So, you are all my witnesses and will help me make sure to get things done. Here we go!
  • Graduate from USU
This is for both me and Michael. He'll complete his Masters in Management Information Systems, and I'll complete my Double Bachelor's in Vocal Performance and Music Therapy in May. Oh, and we must have a huge blowout of a party to celebrate!
  • Find and start my Music Therapy Internship
Still searching for a location on this one, but I will make a final decision by the end of the semester, that is for sure. Just have to choose what is more likely, geriatrics, which I love, or finding a location that works with Trichotillomania (kinda hard). I'd be so incredibly passionate about the latter, so let's hope I can find something in that area.
  • Find and start a new REAL job
This goal is more for Michael than for myself. He just has to locate one in the area of my internship, which is only for 6 months, then we might stay in that area or move around. Up in the air as of now, but it will become a reality this year. Can't wait for a nice, "larger" income again!
  • Run a 5k
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a great runner, my endurance kinda stinks and I just don't LOVE it. My goal is to make a goal of training for a 5k and actually run it. This may seem like nothing to those of you who run marathons and triathlons, but it's pretty big for me. Maybe I will enjoy the 5k so much that I'll run 2 or even attempt a 10k?!? See, I struggle with keeping myself motivated, so I really think I would benefit from a personal trainer, which I hope to acquire once we're graduated and settled. But for now, just attending the gym 4 times a week and increasing my endurance in order to reach my 5k goal is good enough for me!
  • Read the Book of Mormon EVERYDAY
It's too easy to not read the scriptures everyday. Life gets busy and then Michael and I find ourselves just crashing at night and exhausted in the mornings that we don't make time for the scriptures. This year is going to change that. We have to make habits now, so when life gets even more hectic in the coming years, we have no trouble doing what is important. Plus, our days are just SO much better when we read the scriptures and talk with our Heavenly Father.
  • Use my new sewing machine to create some amazing things
I have lots of mending to do, but I really want to take all my old t-shirts from high school and such, and make them into a quilt. I've already talked to Michael's mother about this and she thinks that it's a great idea. I'm so glad she knows how to sew and quilt, and is willing to help me. It'll be nice to have all my t-shirts in one, functional, and cozy location!
  • Practice my piping skills
I now have a 53-piece cake decorating set and I really want to perfect my piping and decorating skills. I feel like I need to have this skill in order to create amazing desserts for my friends and family. I want my childrens' birthday cakes and cupcakes to be cute and fun and this is a goal to help me get there. Plus, I love to cook and bake. I always want and need to be increasing my skills. It just makes me happy!
  • Start paying off student loans
Not much to say, other than as soon as we are graduated, the payments are beginning and we have a goal to have them payed off within 3 years after graduation. We will still live very frugally and focus on eliminating our only debt.
  • Date nights once-a-week
With work and school being crazy last semester, we slacked in this area. It's so important for us to spend time together, outside of the home. We're too comfortable lounging around and just watching movies. We want to make the effort to still "date" each other as we've been counseled. This gives us the excuse to get all "gussied" up and continue building our relationship. Plus, we get to come up with unique, fun, and cheap ideas for dates. We love it.
  • Attend the temple once-a-month
We used to go to our ward temple night once a month when we lived in Layton, and ever since moving back to Logan, we've been unable to due to work and school schedule conflicts, etc. That means that we need to make the effort to attend just the two of us. We are so much happier and closer to each other when we serve the Lord and others in the temple. No matter where we end up living, we will attend the temple once-a-month together this year!
  • Drink more water
Basic and simple. Something we both need to do. Our skin and bodies will thank us.
  • Go to bed by 10 p.m. on weeknights
We need to get more sleep. We are both much nicer and kinder to one another when we get enough rest. Usually we got to bed around 11 or so, and there is no good reason for being up so late. Michael and I are making an effort to get ready for bed at 9:30 p.m. so we can be in bed by 10 p.m. and asleep soon after. Trust me, it makes a HUGE difference in our days.
  • Continue to be silly and laugh everyday
That's not too hard for us to do. We just LOVE each other so much and both have such silly dispositions that we make each other laugh ALL the time. We play with each other everyday and I'm sure we'll keep doing that for the rest of our lives.

These are most of our goals for this year of 2011. Wish us luck that we can accomplish them and stay sane in the process!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I experienced something new on Sunday night, or rather Michael and I both experienced it. I'd never thought about making lasagna in the slow cooker before, but we were determined to try it. The recipe and ingredients are simple. And, just like a typical slow cooker, the actual cooking process couldn't be any simpler.

I've been trying to utilize my slow cooker a lot more these days. We usually just make the typical Sunday Roast with Carrots and Potatoes or Chili. But for daily meals, we are finding that we have less and less time to slave over dinner. The slow cooker is the answer to our busy schedules. We just "Fix it and Forget it" as is the name of the cookbook which this recipe hails from.

It's amazing the amount of culinary possibilities to be discovered through the slow cooker method! We are definite fans. I'm looking forward to more slow cooker recipes in the future to both consume and share with all of you. It is amazing.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 lb. ground beef
2 29-oz. cans tomato sauce
8-oz. pkg. lasagna noodles, uncooked
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups cottage cheese

  1. Spray the interior of the cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a large nonstick skillet. Drain off drippings. Stir in tomato sauce and mix well.
  3. Spread 1/4 meat sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker.
  4. Arrange 1/3 of uncooked noodles over the sauce.
  5. Combine the cheeses in a bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the cheeses over the noodles.
  6. Repeat these layers twice, then top with remaining sauce.
  7. Cover and cook on Low 4 hours.
My thoughts:
You can opt out of the meat altogether and just use and well seasoned marinara sauce instead. That's what we did and it was very good. We didn't even miss the meat. Also, about 5 minutes prior to serving, topping the lasagna with some more cheese, just until it melts, is a great idea. Looks pretty too.